DCC Alumni Spotlight – Judy London Young
I had the pleasure of speaking with the amazing Judy, or “The Other Judy” as her teammates called her. Judy London Young was faced with a bit of pushback from her family when she expressed interest in dance after college. Dad encouraged her to ‘get a real job’ and mom did not allow her to pursue dance as her major in college. However, she saw an opportunity with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and was determined to pursue her passion of dance.
Let’s *FLASHBACK* to when Judy was a young girl. She began dancing at the age of two. She would continue studio dance for 11 years. She then became a part of the Dallas Black Theater and joined the Lake Highlands drill team. There were only 25 African American kids at this particular high school, but that never stopped Judy from chasing her dreams and love for dance. One day, Shannon Baker Werthmann– choreographer for the DCC at the time– offered to come out and choreograph for the drill team. She was also scouting for 3 girls to add to her Showgroup performance. Of the entire team, Judy was one of the 3 dancers chosen and was even encouraged to consider Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in her future.
As you can see, Judy loved dance more than anything, and decided to give the DCC auditions a try. She had never seen anything like it that day she walked into auditions. She was surrounded by so many beautiful and talented women that ‘looked like they had been doing this all of their life’ that she considered going home. Boy, is she glad that she made the choice to stay.
With making her dreams come true as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Judy discovered much more than she anticipated. She says that she was very shy in her first season, under the direction of Suzanne Mitchell. However, and being immersed in an environment that has many opportunities (i.e. public speaking, appearances, face-to-face conversations), Judy had no choice but to grow out of this introverted nature– and fast.
Being the only African American on the team presented itself with some challenges along the way. Judy’s body was naturally different from the other girls. She had more “backside” than the rest of the team. She had to try different styles with her hair until she found the perfect fit, learning from the looks of past African American DCCs, like Toni Washington.
As Judy recollected her time on DCC, she reminisced of her days as Group Leader, having to take out extra practice time for herself after helping the squad get ready for game day. She told stories of her time overseas on USO Tours– visiting places like South Korea. She mentioned the camaraderie with her DCC sisters, including Shelly Patton, Kelli McGonagill (Finglass), Tina Miller, Alona Moore, and many more. She highlighted the college halftime performances that the team was able to partake in each year. She says these were, “THE BEST,” as everyone on the team got to attend. Judy went down memory lane describing her time at the Texas Stadium, staying after the games on the field to sign autographs for fans. Stories told of Go-go boots, Dingo boots, Cowboy boots, mini skirts, sleeved jumpsuits and more. Like the DCC today, they visited Nursing homes, Veterans hospitals, and Children’s hospitals.
It is the devotion, dedication, and drive of women like Judy that pave the way for women like me today. Judy overcame challenges and touched the lives of many during her 6-year tenure as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. She used her DCC platform and leadership to reach the community, fans, and future cheerleaders. She carried all she learned and experienced with her as an educator, counselor, mother, and friend. Thank you, Judy!